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November 6, 2023
The Government of Yukon commemorates veterans this November by recognizing Veterans’ Week, National Indigenous Veterans’ Day and Remembrance Day.
Veterans’ Week, which takes place this year from November 5 to 11, acknowledges the commitment and service of those who enlisted in the armed forces. During Veterans’ Week, the Yukon government pays tribute to the more than 300 veterans who have chosen the Yukon as their home.
National Indigenous Veterans’ Day occurs on November 8 and recognizes the innumerable contributions by First Nations, Inuit and Métis soldiers and veterans. Indigenous veterans like Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Citizens Charlie Isaac and George Walters served in World War II. Indigenous veterans overcame much to serve, including adapting to cultural differences, travelling great distances to enlist and receiving unequal treatment compared to other veterans when they returned home.
One in three Canadians and Newfoundlanders who enlisted in World War I was Indigenous, amounting to approximately 4,000 Indigenous soldiers. In World War II, there were over 8,000 Indigenous soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces.
On Remembrance Day, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians join to recognize and thank those who served in the armed forces, and those who continue to serve, for their sacrifices.
This year also marks the 75th anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping missions. Canada has a long tradition of participating in peacekeeping on the international stage, with more than 125,000 Canadian Armed Forces members serving in peace operations in many countries over the years.
Each year, the Royal Canadian Legion runs the Poppy Campaign, collecting donations that directly benefit veterans and their families. Yukoners are encouraged to donate, if they are able, and wear a poppy as a show of support for the Canadian Armed Forces community.
The Legion’s Poppy Flag will be flown at the Jim Smith Building in Whitehorse, Yukon, from sunrise to sunset on October 27 to November 11 to pay tribute to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP who have served to defend Canadian values and freedoms.
To mark Remembrance Day, Yukoners are encouraged to wear a poppy; attend a Veterans’ Day ceremony; pause for two minutes of silence at 11 am on November 11; spend time with local veterans; research the unique contributions of Indigenous, Asian-Canadian, Black and Women veterans; and to reflect on the sacrifices and contributions of those who served Canada in peacetime and times of conflict.
As we observe Veterans’ Week, National Indigenous Veterans’ Day, and Remembrance Day this week, the Government of Yukon thanks the many dedicated members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, who sacrifice greatly to protect and uphold Canadian security and values, at home and on the international stage. We also extend our gratitude to members of military families – spouses, children, parents and loved ones – who valiantly sacrifice time with their loved ones. I strongly encourage all Yukoners to honour and remember those who have served, those who have been physically or mentally wounded and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. ‘Lest we forget’ serves as a poignant reminder to reflect on the unimaginable horrors that war can bring. In the midst of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East, it is imperative that we remain mindful of these words.
Premier Ranj Pillai
‘We Will Remember Them.’ Now is that time of the year where we gather as a community to honour and remember those who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms. Sacrifice comes in many ways. Many members of the Canadian Armed Forces left home and paid the Ultimate Sacrifice never to return, while others returned bearing visible and invisible scars. We Will Remember those who did not make it home. We Will Remember those that made it home. During this time we reflect on the past and the horrors that war brings. The Poppy is that visual pledge and a reminder to never forget our past, wear it with pride. No matter what you are doing, please take a moment on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and say to yourself ‘We Will Remember Them’.
President of the Legion (Branch 254) Joseph R Mewett